Airbnb home-leasing business faces scrutiny in New York

In Silver Lake, some have reservations about vacation rental website

28. New York City Opera co-produced Anna Nicole with the Brooklyn Academy of Music . New York City Opera did not achieve the goal of its emergency appeal, he wrote. New York City Operas projected deficit for fiscal year 2012 was $44.1 million, although it had a balanced operating budget in recent years, according to the filing. The operas long-term structural deficit problems started in 2003, and it blamed its financial condition on a troubled economy, decreased donations, and increasing pension obligations, according to the filing. Closing down would mark the end of a company established as the peoples opera by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia that became a training ground for young talent that included Beverly Sills and Placido Domingo. It would also leave New York with one remaining major company, the 128-year-old Metropolitan Opera. Donated Elsewhere Cultural institutions and their donors suffered in the financial crisis that started in 2007, and as the economy recovered their donations went elsewhere, said Ted Gavin, a partner at the turnaround and restructuring company Gavin/Solmonese LLC in Wilmington, Delaware . The patrons of the arts in New York City voted with their dollars and gave their money to other organizations, Gavin said in a phone interview before the bankruptcy was filed. Do we have too many operas? Probably. Christopher Koelsch, the chief executive officer of LA Opera in Los Angeles , said New York City Operas closing doesnt mean the biggest U.S. city cant support two operas. Such institutions must be flexible, vigilant and constantly making their case to their constituencies, he said. I would argue in a city of New Yorks size, cultural sophistication and resources that it would be possible to have two entirely vibrant and distinct opera companies, Koelsch said in a phone interview before the filing. The bankruptcy is a good time to pause and reflect on just how fragile some of these institutions are. Urgent Notice The company last week posted an urgent notice on its website seeking donations to help raise $20 million, including $7 million it said it needed by Sept.

New York Film Fest: ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ Splits Critics, Charms Festivalgoers (Analysis)

This year, it is Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which might go on to snag a few noms of its own. our editor recommends NYFF REVIEW: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty On Saturday morning, the film’s first press screening generated sharply divided reactions, but the prevailing reaction at its official world premiere Saturday night, as the fest’s centerpiece screening, was much more positive: It received a lengthy standing ovation. Stiller introduced the film at its premiere by saying, tongue-in-cheek, “I want to thank the Film Society of Lincoln Center for having the courage to include a Ben Stiller film in the festival.” Noting that he grew up just 20 blocks from Alice Tully Hall, where the screening took place, he added thatWalter Mitty was a “valentine” to New York, having been shot all across the city. The dramedywas loosely adapted bySteve Conradfrom a 1939 James ThurberNew Yorker short story, which itself was made into a musical-comedy motion picture starring Danny Kaye in 1947. The new film takes place in the present day. It stars Stiller as the title character, a good-hearted but sad-sack loner who has known sadness, sacrificed for others and worked all but invisibly for 16 years in the photo processing department at waning Life magazine. A perpetual daydreamer prone to awkwardness, he develops a crush on a co-worker (Kristen Wiig), but before he can muster the courage to do anything about it he loses a photo from a famous photographer (Sean Penn), prompting his new boss (a heavily bearded Adam Scott) to tell him that he will lose his job if he doesn’t find it. In order to track it down, Walter Mitty must finally go out and experience the world. PHOTOS: New York Film Festival 2013: 13 Movies to Know This sort of a story is not new. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is about a man who gave up so much for others that he never had time for himself. The Wizard of Oz (1939) is about a girl who ventures far from home and eventually concludes that there’s no place like it. And Stranger Than Fiction (2006), a film that possesses a tone perhaps most similar to Mitty’s, is about a man whose bland life becomes dangerous and exciting because of the presence of unusual activity in his mind. Films of this sort are generally categorized as “fantasy,” which is not the Academy’s favorite genre, and this year’s awards season is tremendously competitive, so I cannot say with any degree of confidence that this film will be nominated for any major Oscars. But, if I had to venture a guess, I think that voters will check it out (if only because Stiller and Wiig possess such likable screen personas) and probably be charmed by it.

Airbnb Inc., the short-term home rental service for travelers, has been issued a subpoena from New York prosecutors. State Attorney General Eric Schneidermans office is investigating whether people who put units on the Airbnb website are complying with state rental laws, Bloomberg News reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter. Airbnb, which has become increasingly popular in Southern California, allows people to rent homes and apartments on a short-term basis as an alternative to hotels. A 2010 New York law bars renters from subletting apartments for fewer than 30 days with some exceptions. The trend has also been criticized in Silver Lake , where homeowners have complained that Airbnb hosts are running virtual hotels, packing homes with throngs of visitors whose presence alters the community feel. “They’re popping up everywhere,” said Scott Plante, a Silver Lake neighborhood councilman. “They’re all over Silver Lake, and it’s the volume of these things. There has to be some sort of balance.” PHOTOS: Most affordableZIP codes for home buyers Airbnb rentals violate Los Angeles zoning laws, which prohibit rentals shorter than 30 days, except for licensed hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, Silver Lake council member Anne-Marie Johnson said. In New York, Schneidermans office is targeting people who are renting large numbers of units or are leasing their properties for much of the year, Bloomberg News said. Casual hosts who occasionally rent personal apartments they own or lease arent a target of the probe. Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for Schneiderman, declined to comment. New York City has been a legal battleground for Airbnb. Last month, the company helped a tenant who sublet his apartment through the service overturn a $2,400 fine levied by the city. Democratic state Sen. Liz Krueger, the author of the states illegal-hotel law, has called Airbnbs business model unambiguously illegal in the city.